CHRIS SUTTON: The Premier League goal-fest is down to rank defending

CHRIS SUTTON: The bonkers Premier League goal-fest is down to rank defending… and I’m loving the drama!

  • This is shaping up to be the most bonkers season in Premier League history 
  • So far, we’ve witnessed goals galore and ridiculous results, rotten defending 
  • We’re only four games into the new season but it’s been wonderfully wacky 

This is shaping up to be the most bonkers season in Premier League history — and I’m loving the drama. We’ve witnessed goals galore and ridiculous results, rotten defending and rank goalkeeping.

Maybe there is an element of schadenfreude to my enjoyment. In my playing days, I’d prey on the schoolboy mistakes these defenders are making. But I can’t recall it being as bad across the board as it is now.

Watching Manchester City concede five to Leicester, Manchester United six to Tottenham and Liverpool seven to Aston Villa, it hammers home the achievement of Chelsea in 2004-05.

This is shaping up to be the most bonkers season in Premier League history for goals

We’ve witnessed goals galore and ridiculous results, rotten defending and rank goalkeeping

That was when Jose Mourinho’s side were crowned champions and conceded 15 goals all season. Yet the art of defending has disappeared in 2020-21, and that is what I believe is behind the Premier League’s sudden rampant goal rate or lack of 0-0s.

I do not think we can blame Covid-19 and say it is because players went through disrupted pre-seasons. That shouldn’t matter. You’re a professional, and just because you didn’t go on your usual summer tour of America is no excuse for how you are performing now.

Neither is the fact that supporters aren’t being allowed in stadiums. For me, it is forgetting the basics that has led to this sudden spate of crazy scorelines. It is bad goalkeeping and worse defending. It is errors being made that Sunday League footballers would be embarrassed by. 

Clever decision-making has gone out the window. It wasn’t Covid-19’s fault that Adrian misplaced the pass that led to Villa’s first goal. Nor was it Covid-19’s fault that Harry Maguire forgot to stop Harry Kane’s quick free-kick. They only have themselves to blame.

For me, it is forgetting the basics that has led to this sudden spate of crazy scorelines

As has become the norm in the modern era, fans of these sides will react in extreme ways. I had one United supporter of 40 years and a season-ticket holder phone me on BBC 5 Live’s 606 on Sunday night to say he was giving up on his club. He said he was switching his allegiance to Leeds!

Another phoned to say Everton were going to do a Leicester and win the title under Carlo Ancelotti! The mood at a club can swing so easily. Not so long ago, Mourinho was a busted flush. Now he’s the manager who won 6-1 at Old Trafford.

West Ham were relegation fodder a few games back and their sale of Grady Diangana was the final nail in their coffin. Now David Moyes is the greatest Zoom manager in the world, having beaten Wolves and Leicester from the comfort of his living room.

We’re only four games into the new season but it’s already been a wonderfully wacky and wild ride. Long may it continue.




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